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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Joaquín Rodrigo's Con Antonio Machado : a performer's guide to the work, focusing on the analysis of songcyclic features Plata Ballesteros, Carolina


In spite of the increasing interest in Spanish song in North America, this music is still under represented in the standard vocal repertoire. In an attempt to shed light on a work lying outside the small, accepted canon of Spanish songs and collections, this dissertation focuses on Con Antonio Machado by Joaquín Rodrigo. Con Antonio Machado raises the interesting question of overall coherence. In the preface to the work, the composer refers to it as a song collection. However, Rodrigo was commissioned to write a song cycle, and indeed his starting point was searching for a poetic cycle in Antonio Machado's works. Although Rodrigo did not find such a group of poems, in the preface to the work he acknowledges the existence of recurrent themes in Machado's poetry. Therefore, it seems fair to suggest that he might have approached the collection in the spirit of writing a cycle. Aiming to answer the question of coherence within the work, this dissertation is an in-depth study of Con Antonio Machado, focusing on the analysis of song-cyclic features. Its purpose is to serve as a basis for making well-informed performance decisions. The dissertation begins with a review of literature that deals with the notion of song cycle (Chapter 1). Chapter 2 focuses on the questions of whether, to what extent and in what ways the poetry of Antonio Machado plays a role in the coherence of the work. The chapter includes a brief reference to Machado's aesthetic ideals and discusses some of the recurrent themes and symbols in his poetry. Chapter 3 concentrates on the musical coherence of the work. It identifies the existence of a large-scale harmonic plan and of a network of recurring melodic gestures. Chapter 4 discusses Con Antonio Machado on a song-by-song basis. It places each song in the context of the entire work, but also accounts for its particularities and tries to say something about its poetical, musical, and emotional essence. Finally, the Conclusion integrates and summarizes the findings of the previous chapters.

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